LGUs support BARMM, UN anti-child labor campaign

John Unson - Philstar.com
LGUs support BARMM, UN anti-child labor campaign
The three-day anti-child labor workshop in Cotabato City last week marked the start of the expansion of the cooperation between the Bangsamoro labor ministry and the International Labour Organization of the United Nations.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Local executives on Saturday took turns pledging support for the expanded joint anti-child labor campaign of an agency of the United Nations and the Bangsamoro government.

Officials told reporters Saturday besides addressing child labor in the six provinces and three cities of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the International Labour Organization (ILO) of the United Nations and the Ministry of Labor and Employment-BARMM shall also focus on preventing the use of children as combatants by armed groups.

The MoLE, the ILO and the Integrated Resource Development for Tri-People, which is a non-government peace advocacy and humanitarian entity, together facilitated last week a three-day workshop involving employees of different BARMM agencies in preparation for the extensive implementation of anti-child labor programs in the provinces of Maguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and in the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato.

“Our local government unit will support the anti-child labor initiatives of BARMM and ILO,” Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Furigay said via online Messenger on Saturday.

He said he will request the members of their Sangguniang Panglunsod to enact viable anti-child labor ordinances for enforcement in all of the more than 40 barangays in Lamitan City.

BARMM Labor Minister Muslimin Sema said he and the employees of MoLE are thankful to the ILO for supporting their programs meant to hasten the attainment of the "pro-poor" objectives of the government’s separate peace compacts with the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“For that, we are thankful to Khalid Hassan, the country director of ILO in the Philippines,” Sema said.

In separate statements Saturday, Governors Mamintal Adiong, Jr. and Jim Salliman of Lanao del Sur and Basilan, respectively, also assured to support the MoLE-ILO anti-child labor programs in their provinces.

Regional Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said his office can work, along with local government units in all of the six provinces and three cities in BARMM, in helping MoLE and ILO address child labor issues.

Sinarimbo, who is chairperson of the multi-sector Regional Advisory Group of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, said he can also ask units of PRO-BAR to report to MoLE child labor cases in any of the towns in the autonomous region for the ministry's appropriate action.

Sinarimbo, who is spokesperson of the Bangsamoro government, said BARMM’s chief minister, Ahod Ebrahim, is keen on addressing unemployment and grinding poverty in interior barangays in BARMM, partly blamed for the use of children for farm works and other jobs to help parents raise money for daily needs at home.

He said the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government can have activities needed in capacitating barangay governments in addressing child-labor issues in the local communities to complement the programs of MoLE and ILO.

LGU officials confirmed on Saturday that the MILG had constructed more than barangay halls, police stations and municipal halls since 2019 in different towns in BARMM for constituents to feel a strong semblance of government in their villages, mostly still reeling from the vestiges of poverty and underdevelopment caused by decades of armed conflicts and poor governance.

“The leadership of BARMM appreciates the support of the International Labour Organization to the anti-child labor programs of MoLE,” Sinarimbo said.

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